Sustainable food security - SEA2LAND



SEA2LAND project, Producing advanced bio-based fertilizers from fisheries wastes, is a 4-year collaborative Innovation Action (IA) funded with 7.7 million € by the EU in the framework of the Horizon 2020 call H2020-RUR-2020-1. It started in January 2021 and is coordinated by NEIKER, the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development. It brings together 26 partners from 11 countries (ten European countries and Chile). The partners in SEA2LAND represent research organisations active in the fields of by-products valorisation, related technologies and agronomy (including organic agriculture) but also industry representatives from the fish/aquaculture sectors, fertiliser sector and technology sector. Finally, the project also involves farmer`s associations as well as consultancy experts for aquaculture, fisheries, environmental management and dissemination, and business plan development.

Project description

European agriculture relies heavily on external sources for the supply of key fertilizers, while at the same time large quantities of minerals are discharged into the environment through a variety of organic waste streams. The SEA2LAND project aims at overcoming challenges related to food production, climate change and waste reuse through the use of organic waste streams. To this end, the SEA2LAND project will work on improving and adapting nutrient recovery technologies to produce bio-based fertilizers from fish and aquaculture processing by-products.

SEA2LAND will optimize and combine technologies and processes (e.g. advanced composting, bio-drying, freeze concentration and extraction, algae production, pyrolysis, membrane technology, chitin extraction, thermo-mechanical fractionation, enzymatic hydrolysis) to generate bio-based and tailor-made fertilizers, both for local crops and export. The basis of the project is the regional production of bio-based fertilizers within a local and circular framework through the development of demonstration pilots that can be replicated across Europe. The project proposes the realization of more than 7 case studies, applying 10 different technologies in 6 representative areas of the fisheries sector (North, Baltic, Atlantic, Cantabrian, Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea).

Bio-based fertilizers will be characterized to ensure compliance with EU regulations, including those related to organic farming. Besides, the effects on soil biodiversity, environmental sustainability and the impact on social parameters and local economy will be studied and business plans will be defined. Finally, bio-based fertilizers from by-products will serve to partially replace imported nutrients for agriculture in Europe, contributing to reduce the negative environmental effects of the misuse of by-products.


These are the objectives of SEA2LAND:

  • Update and record the intra and interregional nutrient imbalance in Europe
  • Promote and scale technologies for nutrient recovery from fisheries wastes
  • Obtain bio-based fertilizers and assess their effect on soil quality and health
  • Design and implement sustainable and circular business models to boost rural development and population settlement
  • Raise awareness in society regarding the recovery of by-products and the use of new bio-based fertilizers from fisheries waste

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University takes the lead on WP6 that deals with quality and safety assessment of final products that might have a potential to be used as bio-based fertilizers.




Prof. Erik Meers
Department of Green Chemistry and Technology
Phone number: +32 9 264 93 96

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101000402.